FORMER chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has urged the national police agency to bring back the policy on the use of whistles and batons to strengthen the imposition of non-lethal response among cops.
Dela Rosa said he proposed the return of whistles and batons as part of the police uniform to PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr.
“As we were going down the elevator kanina kasama ko si chief PNP, sinabi ko sa kanya na siguro ‘wag na kayong mag-intay pa na gagawa pa tayo ng batas, ang Senado o Kongreso gagawa pa ng batas. Gawin ninyo na ngayon, unahan na ninyo, you make your own policy ibalik ninyo ‘yan as part of the uniform ‘yung batuta at saka ‘yung pito para sige tayo sabi ng force continuum dito from non-lethal to less lethal to lethal pero as part of the uniform, meron ba kayong less lethal equipment d'yan? Wala,” Dela Rosa said.
(As we were going down the elevator earlier with me was the chief of the PNP. I told him that maybe he shouldn't wait for us to create a law, the Senate or Congress to create a law. Do it now, take the lead, make your own policy, bring back as part of the uniform the baton and the whistle. So we have this force continuum, from non-lethal to less lethal to lethal, but as part of the uniform, do you have less lethal equipment there? None.)
Dela Rosa made the remark amid the Senate investigation on the death of 18-year-old Jhemboy Baltazar after being mistaken by the police as a murder suspect.
“Wala kayong pito, wala kayong batuta. Ang meron lang baril. So kaya nga siguro diretsong gumagamit ng baril dahil walang ibang option na ginagawa ang kapulisan kundi diretsong baril ang gamit. So babalik tayo ngayon sa traditional na kailangan as part of uniform ng isang pulis, may batuta, may pito,” he added.
(You don't have whistles, you don't have batons. The only thing you have is a gun. That's probably why they're resorting to using their guns directly because the police have no other option but to use their guns directly. So we're going back now to the traditional need as part of a police uniform, to have a baton, to have a whistle.)
The former cop reiterated that the use of firearms should be the police’s last resort.
He said the use of firearms is justified if the offender poses an imminent danger of causing death or injury to the police officer or other persons.
Dela Rosa noted that even the use of warning shots during police operations are not allowed.
“Tila may kalituhan ang ating mga pulis hinggil sa pagkakasunod-sunod ng use of force continuum kaya’t marahil baliktad ang kanilang pagkakabasa o pagkakaintindi. Imbes na unahin ang non-lethal approach ay mas pinili nilang unahin ang pinakamabigat at pinakamapinsala na lethal approach,” he said.
(It seems that our police have confusion about the sequence of the use of force continuum, which is why their reading or understanding might be reversed. Instead of prioritizing the non-lethal approach, they have chosen to prioritize the heaviest and most damaging lethal approach.)
In response, Acorda said they will look into the matter as he agreed with Dela Rosa.
“Of course, I welcome that, and sa tingin ko tama rin and even in the absence of such law, pag-usapan namin ng command group and with the DRD that it will become part of our uniform. Dati naman part ng uniform natin yan,” Acorda added.
(Of course, I welcome that, and I think it's right too. Even in the absence of such a law, when we discuss it with the command group and the DRD, it will become a part of our uniform. It used to be a part of our uniform before.)
“Siguro babalikan namin. Medyo I lost track of it kung paano namin tinaggal. Overtime parang nagpalit palit na,” he added.
(Perhaps we will revisit it. I sort of lost track of how it was removed. Over time, it seems to have changed back and forth.) (SunStar Philippines)